Never would I EVER had predicted writing a post like this. Sardines!? UGH(!!). Your nose is scrunched, your gag reflex is going, and you’ve got a disgusted look on your face right now. Just one year ago, this was me.
I had always read about the wonders of sardines, but could NOT work up the courage to try the puny things. Kind of like my story with liver, only I’ve successfully managed to *tolerate* liver.
And then, I became friends with a pescatarian (a.k.a. a vegetarian who eats fish). One night, while cooking dinner together, she busted out some sardines for some extra protein, because our salmon filet was smaller than we had expected. She offered some to me, and with miraculous boldness, I accepted.
Weirdly enough, my sardine tasted…. okay. It was okay!! It actually exceeded my expectations, and even seemed to trump the taste of canned tuna, which I didn’t mind.
That next week, I went out and bought a few cans of wild-caught sardines, you know, to just have on hand (in case of a famine). Sure enough, I got lazy for lunch that week, and wouldn’t you know what came in handy… SARDINES!
5 Reasons to Eat More Sardines (& Ways to Do So)
1. Their Nutrient Profile
These tiny fish pack a BIG nutrient punch. They’re loaded with:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (one can has over 50% of the daily value)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D (one of the rare edible sources)
- CALCIUM. Yes, in the event that you have a dairy allergy/sensitivity, these are an incredible way to get over 30% of your daily needs in one can.
Basically, eating these will reduce inflammation, promote heart health, bone health, skin health, and brain health.
2. They’re FAST food.
When I’m unable to make an elaborate lunch or am in a hurry, these are PERFECT. Grab a can, open, drain, and eat with a fork right out of the can. Clean up is nonexistent!
3. They’re cheap.
Nutritional bang. for. buck. We’re talking about $2.59 for a can.
4. They’re perfect travel food.
With a nice shelf life and packaging, nothing beats out sardines for portability and nutritional profile. They’re especially a great option instead of disgusting airplane food (okay, minus the fishy smell, perhaps…), because they’re lightweight, easy to pack, and will pass the security check.
5. They’re very low in toxins.
Wild-caught sardines are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, so they don’t concentrate heavy metals and contaminants like other fish.
Now, how to choose and eat them, you ask?
- Again, look for canned WILD-CAUGHT sardines (not farmed!) in olive oil, water, or tomato sauce (watch the sugars!!). Stay away from those in sunflower, soy, or canola oils, etc., because of their inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. You can eat fresh sardines, of course, but they spoil very quickly and need to be gutted.
- You can eat them:
- Right out of the can or on a salad (talk about a power salad!)
- With hot sauce
- With mustard
- With lemon juice, olive oil and garlic
- With chopped avocado and tomatoes, with oregano, basil, and rosemary (my favorite)
If you haven’t tried sardines or don’t eat them regularly, just TRY them on a regular basis! They will grow on you, and the way they’ll make you FEEL will keep you coming back for more. Heck, why not make it your 2015 resolution!?